A Deeper Look at the Calcium Supplement Study
In the study of 23,980 Germans, ages 35-64, those taking calcium supplements were almost twice as likely to suffer heart attacks as those taking no vitamin supplements of any kind. The EPIC-Heidelberg study followed participants for 11 years, during which time 354 suffered heart attacks.
Researchers reported that calcium from food, previously thought to protect against cardiovascular disease, showed little benefit. Though the study couldn’t prove that calcium pills contributed to heart-attack risk, the findings were enough for an accompanying editorial to conclude that getting calcium in large doses by supplementation “is not natural, in that it does not reproduce the same metabolic effects as calcium in food. The evidence is also becoming steadily stronger that it is not safe, nor is it particularly effective.” – Heart
True Health U’s Take
Calcium supplementation seems a little controversial lately. Consequently, if you are concerned with bone and heart health, I’d recommend real food as a priority (sesame seeds, almonds, tofu, yogurt, and green leafy vegetables) and supplementation only if needed or if preferred because of benefits personally experienced.
Based on a review of recent calcium studies including the one discussed here, it appears as though too much calcium in supplement form (over 1,200 mg per day) may not be a good idea for most people.
Don’t Criticize Calcium Supplements too Quickly…
At the same time, simply because one or two studies report high incidences of heart attacks with people taking calcium supplements doesn’t mean calcium supplements cause heart attacks. Many factors contribute to heart attacks and it is difficult to determine the exact cause in a nutrition or supplement study.
Nonetheless, if you take calcium supplements, you may want to consider lowering the amount you take if you are at risk for heart disease, have a genetic predisposition, or are concerned about heart health in general.
Calcium Supplements May Have a Place for Some…
People experiencing osteopenia or osteoporosis may benefit from higher levels of calcium supplementation if their diet does not contain adequate calcium from real foods, but more than 800 mg per day from supplements might not be needed.
Should you choose to take a calcium supplement, visit our tested and true Calcium page to find out which calcium products passed independent testing.
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